Friday, October 15, 2010

Peach and Fig Jam with Thyme

I hadn't planned on making jam, but a bowl of perfect peaches and organic figs sat on my table and I was leaving for 6 days.....2 Paris trips, back to back. It was too much fruit to take with me and it wouldn't be so perfect after a few trips through airport security checks. I had just read La Table de Nana's blog on Lavender Thyme Gelée and loved the addition of thyme into the jelly. Giving in to the power of suggestion, I thought a Peach and Fig Jam with Thyme sounded heavenly. In between packing for my trip, I started peeling peaches and cutting up figs. I saved one for a pre-flight snack :-) since they really were perfectly ripe, sweet and had a firm texture. I already had jars ready to go and thyme growing in the garden, so this went pretty quickly. Often I use cherry juice in recipes and used some instead of water to cook the fruit in. Jotting down the ingredients and times, I finished the jam and went off to work for the week. Knowing I had this treat waiting for me, I picked up a loaf of Poilâne bread and a fresh block of sel de mer butter from Paris. Ooh-la-la....what a breakfast this made! The butter with its delicate crunch of salt just sings a chorus with the sweetness of the peaches and figs. And thyme is the surprise guest.Homemade goodness in a jar. I decided to give a few away and couldn't resist using a copy I made of a French pêche label I bought at a Paris flea market a few weeks ago. Sometimes it just all comes together in an unexpected way.

Peach and Fig Jam with Thyme

4 1/2 cups peaches, peeled and roughly chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (about 5 large peaches)
5 fresh figs, cut in half if small, or into quarters if large
1 small handful of fresh thyme*, rinsed
1/2 cup unsweetened cherry juice or water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 envelope powdered fruit pectin (from a 1.75 ounce package that contains 2 envelopes)
2 cups sugar
4-8 ounce canning jars
*Use about 15 sprigs or add more if you want a stronger thyme flavor. I used lemon thyme which has a mild flavor.

Divide the chopped peaches in half and mash one half with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Put both batches of the peaches in a 4 quart pot and add the figs, thyme, cherry juice (or water), and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes or until the fruit is tender.
Cool to room temperature and then stir in the pectin until dissolved. Over high heat bring the mixture to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, while stirring. Add the sugar and boil for 1 more minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot. Ladle the hot mixture into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top. Wipe off the rims and seal with lids. As the jars seal, you'll hear a popping sound. Let cool to room temperature and store refrigerated.

Makes 4-8 ounce jars.

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